- Union Baptist Association is older than the state of Texas.
- Union Baptist Association was the first association formed west of the Mississippi.
- Union Baptist Association was instrumental in the founding of Baylor University (1845) and Houston Baptist University (1960).
- Sam Houston was baptized by a church that belonged to Union Baptist Association.
- Union Baptist Association has a history of creativity and entrepreneurship.
- Union Baptist Association is the largest association in the Southern Baptist Convention.
If you answered “true” to all of the statements, you are mistaken. Read on to see what you might have missed.
Union Baptist Association (UBA) was formed October 9, 1840. Texas didn’t become a state until December 29, 1845.
In 1841, 35 delegates to the Union Baptist Association meeting voted to adopt the suggestion of Rev. William Milton Tryon and R.E.B. Baylor to establish a Baptist university in Texas. Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. It is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas and was one of the first educational institutions west of the Mississippi River. Noted Texas revolutionary war leader and hero Sam Houston gave the first $5,000 donation to start the university. (Wikipedia)
In 1854, Houston was baptized by the Rev. Rufus Columbus Burleson, future Baylor President, in the Brazos River. A notation in the Centennial History of UBA says: “The friends of General Houston, who appreciate his great intellectual, political and moral worth, will rejoice to learn that he has thus dedicated himself to God and publican enlisted in the services of the church."
UBA has a distinguished history of creativity and entrepreneurship. Leaders in UBA were instrumental in the founding of Baptist Hospital (which later became Memorial Hospital (1907), the Star of Hope (1907), the Home for the Aged with Buckner (1955), Union Baptist Foundation (1955), Peach Creek Assembly (1957), the Baptist Mission Center (1960, today called the Mission Centers of Houston), the Center for Counseling (1975), and Trinity Pines Conference Center (1980).
In 1952, the UBA authorized a committee to study the possibility of locating a Baptist college in Houston. In 1957, Frank Sharp (developer of Sharpstown) sold UBA 390 acres for $780,000. In 1960, the state of Texas granted a charter for Houston Baptist University. The first class was enrolled in 1963. In 1967, 58 graduates received their degrees. Today HBU has more than 2,500 students and offers in excess of 40 majors through its six colleges.
Today, with nearly 600 affiliated congregations, UBA is the largest association in the Southern Baptist Convention.
On Sunday night, October 11, at Houston’s First Baptist Church*, we will celebrate our history and launch into the future. I hope you’ll join us.
* Houston’s First Baptist Church was formed in 1841 and is the church that has been a member of UBA the longest.